“Middle-East”Near-Asia, Supra-Saharan Africa and the Islamic[1] World


IndexMiddle East (Generalia)

Historical Matters

Sexual Climate: General Remarks

Hammam as Cradle of Sexual Culture

The Other Cradle: “Genital Parenting”

Boy-Love, Boy Prostitution, with a Specific Reference to Age


Early Betrothal / Marriage: Islamic Regulations and Practice

Current Age of Consent

Genital Morphology Alteration Practices

Sexual Upbringing: General and Historical Points

The Upbringing of Children in Islam

The Upbringing of Children in Judaism

Hymen Cult


Historical Matters


Muhammad who, after the death of his first wife, agreed, at the urging of his followers, to marry a young prepubertal girl (many argued that the age was 7), Ayesha. “Most Islamic authorities believe the marriage was not consummated until she menstruated, the traditionally acceptable time for marriage”, writes Bullough (1973)[2]. This age of consummation was commonly assumed to be nine[3], as reported by Bullough (1976:p208[4]; cf. Moztki, p492, 493). The Aisha case could be used as an argument by judges (e.g., Antoun, 1980:p465)[5]. Islamic marriage, as it is literally synonymous with coition, normally took place at age 12 or 13, and the Koran prohibits premenarchal consummation (Bullough, 1976:p214). This sensitises some contemporary authorities when, in a pamphlet dedicated to Allah, stating that “[s]exual desire is aroused in human being at the age of puberty”, which would be “fifteen lunar years for boys and nine for girls” (Rizvi, undated:p59, 60)[6].

Motzki (1985)[7] states that in central Arabia around the 7th and 8th century A.D. ejarcularche (13, 14y) and menarche (13) primarily signified legal, political and social caesura, the minimal ages would have been nine and twelve (ten), respectively. “So hieß es auch, daß  neun Jahre das Alter sei, von dem an das Mädchen Begierden wecken, und zehn Jahre der Zeitpunkt, von dem an der Junge Begierden habe könne und man ging gewöhnlich davon aus, daß sie dann auch zum Koitus fähig sein könnten, selbst wenn die Geschlechtsreife später einträte” (p494). The physical transition is intimately connected to the sexual sphere, being a prerequisite for marriage, which was legal only through consummation. Premenarchal marriage “appears to have been among the possibilities, insofar she was physically able for coitus” (p492, 522).





Sexual Climate: General Remarks


Francoeur (1990:p101-3)[8] provided a baseline sketch of Islamic sexuality. Another baseline:


“In many Islamic countries boys and girls are segregated in schools, except at the university level, and even university segregation occurs in some areas. Dating is forbidden and risky, although it is practised secretly beyond the watchful eyes of families and friends. It is not uncommon for couples to delay courtship until they are actually married and the wife has moved to her new domicile. Premarital pregnancy or loss of chastity is regarded as a calamity with very serious consequences to those involved and their families”[9].


Edwardes and Masters (1961)[10] work is monumental for the study of the development of sexual behaviour in the East. Their narrative however, seems hyperbolic. For instance, they write that “in the East there are but a handful of females who do not have their vaginas penetrated at least once by the male penis before the age of puberty” (p121). According to Edwardes (1967b/1969)[11], masturbation is very common among the Arabs and Jews from the cradle. This would oppose orthodox rulings, though[12]. DeMause (1991)[13] seems to agree. The seductive climate would have to lead to Paradoxia:


“Sex for boys in the Middle East is said to begin in infancy and continue throughout childhood. Parents and others masturbate the infant’s penis in order “to increase its size and strengthen it”, and older siblings have been observed playing with the genitals of babies for hours at a time.[[14]] As the boy gets older, mutual masturbation, fellatio and anal intercourse are said to be common among children, particularly with the older boys using the younger children as sex objects as a reaction to the over stimulation of the family bed”.


According to DeMause, girls would be subjected to a downpour of incestuous assault along the age gradient. DeMause later[15] draws a parallel between “Islamic terrorism”and sexual socialisation, stating terrorists are “products of a misogynist fundamentalist system”.


Sexual education in Islamic Middle East slowly gained weight in the seventies, although met with considerable hesitation (e.g., Minai, 1981:p133-8)[16].






Hammam as Cradle of Sexual Culture[cf. Volume II, chapter 16]


The role of sex in the traditional bath house is widely discussed. North African boys are banned from the women’s Hammam at the date of sexual coming-of-age (Buitelaar and Van Gelder, 1996:p145-6)[17]. Later, the smouldering memories of naked females would eroticise the institution (cf. Drew, 1997)[18]. According to Serhane ([1995:p169-77])[19] the Hammam is remembered as a revolution in male sexual development, a transition nicely illustrated in the film Halfaouine[20]. In his Dreams of Trespass, Mernissi (1994)[21] describes her cousin’s expulsion from the women’s hammam, which seemed to have resulted from a similar gaze as that of Noura (Halfaouine): “Then came the day that Samir was thrown out of the hammam because a woman noticed that he had “a man’s stare” […] “He might be four, but I am telling you, he looked at my breast just like my husband does”[[22]]. […] [T]hat […] incident signalled, without Samir [the cousin] and I realizing it, the end of childhood, when the difference between the sexes did not matter. After that Samir was less and less tolerated in the woman’s hammam, as his “erotic stare” began to disturb more and more women” (p239-42). Mernissi was told:


“Men do not understand women […] and women do understand men, and it all starts when little girls are separated from little boys in the hammam. Then a cosmic frontier splits the planet in two halves. The frontier indicates the line of power because whenever there is a frontier, there are two kinds of creatures walking on Allah’s earth, the powerful on one side, and the powerless on the other” (p242).


Other authors mention the hammam is a forbidden place after the stigma of circumcision that announces the bankruptcy of the boy’s “asexual” status. According to Bouhdiba (1985)[23]: “The hammam [...] is a highly eroticized place - so much so indeed that the name has come to signify for the masses the sexual act itself [...] “going to the hammam” quite simply means “making love” […] . Every Muslim can relive his childhood in terms of his experience of the hammam […] notoriously a place of homosexuality, male and female […] there the child has all the time in the world to contemplate, examine and compare sexual organs [so that] every Muslim is fixated on his mother [...]”. Bouhdiba even speaks of a Hammam-complex.  As judged from Messina (1991:p201-2)[24], the Moroccan boy may remember to be expelled from the Hammam at variable ages, ranging from three or four, eight to as late as ten.

Serhane (1995) provided a detailed analysis of Moroccan sexual development. Masturbation is regarded as deviant. Allegedly, homosexual abuse, although counteracted by Islam, is frequent and may constitute the child’s first sexual experience (p45-6, 159). Both homosexuality and zooerastic contacts are interpreted as directly associated with the repression of sexuality, and the separation of the sexes.





The Other Cradle: “Genital Parenting”[25]



In the Middle-Ages, the Jews would not have appreciated hearing their children laugh in their bedrooms, for they believed that in such cases the Lilith would be playing with their genitalia (Patai, 1967:p224)[26].


A negative association with this belief would contrast the case of genital reference in infancy found in the literature for Middle to Near East. Miner (1960)[27]: “The genitals of a baby are stroked by its brothers and sisters to amuse and please it”. An Egyptian mother would play with boy’s genitals (Ammar, 1954:p105)[28]. The Kazak rub and play with boy’s genitals, and allow masturbation (Ford and Beach, 1951:p188)[29]. In Pakistan, Pandjgur women may stroke the genitalia of their little sons, but only when their husbands, brothers or any other man is absent (Pastner, 1984:p224ff)[30]. Among the Turks, infants’ “penises were kissed and stroked […] grandparents and parents fondled their genitals and repeated: “You are male, you are male” ” (Delaney, 1991:p78-9)[31]. Blowing on the penis is done to encourage urination. Female genitals and masturbation are ignored. Olsen (1981:p108)[32] saw her daughter’s “sugar box” “kissed lovingly” by a Turkish maid/nurse and was urged to do the same “as a part of appropriate “mothering” ”. Olson-Prather (1976:p278)[33] noted that a teenage neighbour girl of the elite class expressed verbal but not physical admiration. Bilge, another American researcher told Olson[34] that this was common among recent and earlier Turkish immigrants near Detroit, Michigan. Helling (1960:p87-8)[35] described that old women may snatch at the penises of little boys as they run by in the nude, threatening to cut them off, but also in apparent celebration of his incipient virility. Edwardes and Masters (1961:p240, 249-52, 264)[36] provide a functional interpretation: “[The] constant forcible retraction has for centuries been customary among the Islamic people of Central Asia (e.g., the Turkomans,Kurds, Uzbeks, Kazak-Kirghiz, etc.), who methodologically masturbate their sons from early infancy in order to expose the glans penis, dilate the preputial orifice, and stimulate growth and development. Rubbed erect, the infant’s penis is clasped directly under the corona by the parent’s fingers; then the foreskin is jerked fully down again and again, stretching the frenulum and uncovering the crown. All the members of the family, young and old alike, take turns performing this denudation of the glans on the new baby for at least an hour every evening”. The Jews, however, would not have the argument of preputial conditioning, because of the neonatal circumcision: “They do it merely because it is super-exciting to the suckling; the exposed glans is therefore rarely if ever touched or rubbed by the fingers”.

Messina (1991:p165-6)[37]: “Another “flaw”, Suad regards as peculiarly Farsi, is the affectionate genital contact some women extend when they greet or communicate with an infant. It is not entirely uncommon to see women- mother’s, aunts, sisters or maids- touch the child’s genitals with their hand, then kiss those same fingers, back and forth, a few brief times with much the spontaneity as the American gesture of gently pinching an infant’s chin (I am told that fathers do this as well, but personally I have only witnessed women doing so. I know of one instance with a female infant and several with males)”. Kasriel (1990:p120)[38] also refers to Moroccan maternal mockeries.

Mernissi ([1985:p162])[39]:


“[The boy’s] penis, htewta (“little penis”), is the object of a veritable cult on the part of the women rearing him. Little sisters, aunts, maids, and mothers often attract the little boy’s attention to his htewta and try to teach him to pronounce the word, which is quite a task given the gutteral initial letter h. Oe of the common games played by adult females with a male child is to get him to understand the connection between sidi (master) and the htwta. Hada sidhum (“This is their master”), say the women, pointing to the child’s penis. The kissing of the child’s penis is a normal gesture for a female relative who has not seen him since his birth. Tbarkallah ‘ala-r-Rajal (“God protect the man”), she may whisper. The child’s phallic pride is enhanced systematically, beginning in the first year of life”.






Boy-Love, Boy Prostitution, with a Specific Reference to Age (®Indonesia, ®Asia)



“Some writers speculate that the veiling and secluding of women results in homosexuality. For example, in his analysis of Arefnameh, Paul Sprachman claims that Iraj Mirza launched in this work a “general attack on the pervasiveness of Persian pedophilia,” blaming it on the strict segregation of the sexes[40].In lines 79–88, Iraj Mirza states that as long as girls are veiled and boys are not, one cannot blame men for preferring boys. He further asserts that if girls were available, men would not sodomize boys. Clearly, it is not pedophilia that concerns Iraj Mirza but pederasty. In these lines, the poet greatly oversimplifies sexual dynamics between a man and a boy. Would the pederast really prefer girls over boys if girls were available to him? Does marriage and the resulting availability of women change the sexual preference of a pederast?” (Shirazi, 2001:p179)[41].


The Mamlukes (ruling medieval Egypt) indulged in pederasty with boys from the Central Asian steppes (Murray; Greenberg)[42]. In medieval Southwestern Asia, the Mamluk[e]s of the sultanate governments were forbidden to have sex with females but commonly had boys as sexual partners. The adult Mamluk would educate his boy apprentice (cf. Hardman, 1990; Williams, 1998, 2000)[43].

Persia for centuries was especially renowned for its boy-brothels. Until the later half of the 20th century, it was “still an easy matter to find child prostitutes in the Middle and Far East” (Benjamin and Masters, 1964:p162[44]; cf. Greenberg, 1988:p172-82)[45]; this parallels the gone-by scene in Morocco (Rouadjia, 1991; etc.)[46]. DeMause (1991)[47] seems to avoid the issue of age in Middle-Eastern boy-love.  Love of boys, as judged from Medieval and later Muslim and Hebrew verse (Roth, 1982, 1984, 1989, 1991, 1994; etc.)[48] was informed by classic “Greek” aesthetics: the boy must not grow a beard, but should be pubescent. Sources suggest this would have been the case even in the first century BC. (e.g., Haas, 1999:p115)[49]. Schild (1985:p101)[50] relates that a special word for “beard poems” exists (mu’adhar). In his Book on the Etiquette of Marriage, Al-Ghazāzī’s mere reference to homosexuality is that it is shameful for a man to look at the face of the beardless boy when it may result in evil[51]. In “The Upbringing of Children in Islam[52], the author details a specific argument against looking at boys:


“In the normal activities of life like buying and selling, treatment and training, one may look at a young boy of about fourteen years who has not yet grown his beard. However, it is unlawful to look at him to enjoy his beauty. It may arouse sensuality. ¶Hazrat ¶Hasan bin Zakwªan never allowed anyone to sit with such a boy. ¶Hazrat Sufyªan Thauri may Allah have mercy on him says, “There is one devil with every woman but there are seventeen devils with a young boy”. Imam A¶hmad may Allah have mercy on him did not allow one to move about with such a boy. ¶Hazrat ibn Musaib may Allah have mercy on him said, “Be vigilant of the one who moves about with young boys.” [note: unaltered from online ed.]


Others agree that “Some religious scholars have also forbidden looking at beardless handsome boys in the same way as is the case with women whom one is not allowed to see”[53]. The Cur’an supplies such unambiguous phrases as “And there shall wait on them [the Muslim men] young boys of their own, as fair as virgin pearls” (SURA LII:24) and “They shall be attended by boys graced with eternal youth, who will seem like scattered pearls to the beholders” (SURA LXXVI:19)[54]. There is a hadith in Bukhari, admittedly providing not the Prophet’s opinion but that of Abu Jafar, which advocates the prohibition of marrying the mother of boys if the latter be penetrated:


“feeman yal’abu bis-sabiyy: in ‘adkhalahu feehi falaa yatazawwajanna ‘ummahu” [As for whom(ever) plays with a boy: if he caused him to enter him, then he shall not marry his mother; Bukhari LXII, 25)”.


One of the great male Sufi contemporaries of Rabi’a al-‘Adawiyya provided a divine justification for a pederastic relationship, as repeated without a hint of disapproval in a 10th century book about great Sufi women:


“One day Rabi’a saw Rabah [al-Qaysi] kissing a young boy [huwa yuqabbil sabiyyan]. ‘Do you love him?’ she asked. ‘Yes’, he said. To which she replied, ‘I did not imagine that there was room in your heart to love anything other than God, the Glorious and Mighty!’ Rabah was overcome at this and fainted. When he awoke, he said, ‘On the contrary, this is a mercy that God Most High has put into the hearts of his slaves’[55].


In early modern Ottoman society, as in other Mediterranean and Near Eastern societies, “sexual congress between adult males and young boys was not construed as “homosexual” or aberrant; what was deemed problematic was homoeroticism among adult males” (Pierce, 1997:p175)[56]. In medieval Islamic societies, “sexuality was defined according to the domination by or reception of the penis in the sex act; moreover, one’s position in the social hierarchy also localized her or him in a predetermined sexual role”. Hence, boys, “being not yet men, could be penetrated without losing their potential manliness”[57]. As Dunne[58] continues, “[s]ex with boys or male prostitutes made men “sinners”, but did not undermine their public position as men or threaten the important social values of female virginity or family honor”. Again, “En effet, l'homosexualité a été largement répandue dans la société musulmane, notamment entre hommes et enfants imberbes (amrad, ghulam, sabiy) âgés entre 10 et 21 ans. On trouve souvent dans les écrits arabes l'expression: "il a un penchant pour les enfants", ou plus discrètement "il a un penchant pour la beauté (jamaly, ou yuhib al-jamal). Dans ces écrits, celui qui pénètre (loti) fait preuve de virilité (fuhuliyyah), quant au pénétré (ma'bun, mukhannath), il est efféminé, humilié[59].


[With regard to Sufi eroticism] A practice called nazar ill'al-murd, or "contemplation of the unbearded," involved male initiates meditating on attractive young boys--some of them barely on the verge of puberty--as a sign of God's beauty. Also called "The Witness Game," it was not quite as scandalous within early Islam as it would be to most Westerners today. Ahmad Ghazali, a major Sufi figure from Persia in the twelfth century, was an early supporter of "the game." [Peter Lamborn] Wilson describes a Sufi portrait in which Ghazali is portrayed "seated in his cell-retreat, staring at a young boy, with a single rose on the floor between them." Ibn Taymiyya, a fourteenth-century arch-conservative enemy of Sufism, charged that kissing and embracing were also a part of these ceremonies, and Wilson allows that, "when overcome by ecstasy during the sama ('spiritual concert'), [some] were inclined to rend the shirts of the unbearded and dance with them breast to breast." […] It seems likely that most of the God/love-intoxicated mystics separated their appreciation of prepubescent beauty from any lustful compulsions for sexual penetration, although according to Wilson, "One sufi, accused by the arch-puritan Taymiyya of sexual immorality, replied, 'And so what if I did?' " Clearly we are on an emotionally (and legally) tender terrain within a contemporary context, but at that time, according to Wilson, "The ultimate problem for the Islamic moralists . . . was not pederasty or pedophilia per se . . . The real danger in 'sacred pedophilia' was the claim that human beings can realize themselves in love more perfectly than in religious practices." The Sufis were accused of the heresy of Incarnationism. While conservative theologians claimed that God could be seen only after death, the Sufis professed to witness God with their eyes; in the words of one shocked conservative, "while gazing at a comely slave boy”.[60]


According to Khaled El-Rouayheb (2005; cf. 2003)[61],


“The Arabic poetry of the early Ottoman period (1500-1800) is still, to a large extent, unexplored territory. The few secondary monographs on the poetry of the period suggest that love-poetry as a rule portrayed a female beloved. […] this is misleading. The portrayed beloved seems often, and perhaps most often, to have been a beardless or downy-cheeked male youth. […] According to some modern scholars, such pederastic poetry indicates a widespread tolerance of 'homosexuality' in the pre-19th century Arabic-Islamic world, despite Islamic legal prohibitions. Other scholars argue that such poetry was cultivated openly because they were conceived to be nothing more than time-honoured literary exercises. I argue that both positions overlook the fact that much of this poetry celebrated a passionate but chaste love in the 'udhrī tradition, and that Islamic jurists did not consider such love to be prohibited, even if directed at a beardless youth.”


From the Encyclopædia Iranica’s[62] entries on homosexuality:


“[In Zoroastrian literature dealings with homosexuality] The action takes place between sexually mature males (aræan--), and there is no mention of sexual intercourse between prepubescent boys and adult males, so common in the Islamic period, or between women. […] Only in the much later Persian riva@yats do we find a distinction between intercourse with adult men and under-age boys. Thus, according to one riva@yat (ed. Dhabhar, 1932, p. 291; ed. Unvala, 1922, I, pp. 307, 310), g@ola@m-ba@ragi with a man (fifteen or older) counts as a margar-za@n sin, that is, worthy of capital punishment, but with a boy of eight as a tana@v^r^ sin, that is, fifteen times less than a margarza@n sin. [In Foundational Texts of Islam] The possibility that Qor÷a@nic allusions to the beautiful boys (welda@n, g@elma@n) who will serve as cupbearers to the believers in Paradise (52:24, 56:17. 76:19) carried homoerotic overtones was generally ignored by the exegetes, although certainly entertained from an early date by the wider society; and the H®anafi jurists, at least, were willing to discuss, if nevertheless ultimately to dismiss, the idea that homosexual intercourse, like wine, was a pleasure forbidden in this world but offered to the male elect in the next. […] There is very little evidence for homosexuality, however understood, in Islamic societies of the first century and a half after the death of the Prophet. Abruptly, however, at the end of the 2nd/8th century, the cultivation of (male) homoerotic poetry appears, particularly in Baghdad, and most of all in the verse of the extraordinary Abu Nowa@s (d. ca. 199/814), whose love for boys was matched only by his love for wine. In both cases the joys he celebrated were antinomian ones, that for boys being expressed either in puckish but chaste verses or in roguishly obscene ones. However, Abu Nowa@s was by no means alone: already in his own generation it came to be generally accepted that poets were just as free to compose verses about boys as about women; and indeed within a century the homoerotic love lyric (g@azal) in Arabic had expanded to match the entire range of emotion expressed in its heteroerotic counterpart, from the earthy to the ethereal. At the same time, historical and anecdotal texts indicate a widespread acceptance of homoerotic love affairs, at least in elite society and probably much more generally, throughout the lands of Islam, with very little geographical or ethnic differentiation. […] It was assumed that many, or indeed most, mature men would be sexually attracted to adolescent boys, in a way strictly parallel to—and compatible with—their attraction to women. Like women, such boys have hairless bodies and soft skin, and like them they are subordinate members of society, that is, subordinate to mature men. Inevitably, men's tastes differ, some being interested only in women, some only in boys, but most in both. There is little difference in the love poetry about either, and as often as not—in Arabic and all the more in genderless Persian—it is impossible to determine the sex of the beloved being addressed or described. Often this is betrayed only by a sex-specific detail—a woman's swelling breasts, or a boy's downy first beard. The emergence of the beard was in fact a crucial aspect of male homoeroticism in these societies; seen as a mark of beauty at its first appearance (the ideal male beloved was about fourteen), as it became full it marked the end of the boy's—now the man's—sexual desirability. Despite frequent poetic protestations that a now-bearded boy or man was still beautiful, such sentiments were always perceived as going against the normal understanding. To the extent that men's power-differentiated love affairs with boys (like those with women) were assumed to be expressed by sexual activity, it was considered obvious that the man took the active role in (anal) intercourse, the boy being submissively passive and (in most cases, although this was a very ambiguous area) not submitting for the sake of sexual pleasure. However, once a young male reached adulthood, he was expected to become sexually active (with women and/or boys). While it was recognized that there were mature men who sought out the passive role in homosexual intercourse, they were viewed as both sick and contemptible; and indeed to accuse a mature man of such proclivities was both one of the strongest and one of the most common forms of insult. […] [In Persian literature] The "beloved" (q.v.) in Persian lyrics is, as a rule, not a female, but a young male, often a pubescent or adolescent youth, or a young boy. No sense of shame, no unease, no notion of concern for religious prohibition affects the exuberant descriptions of the male beloved or the passionate love displayed by the poets for him. There are many poems by classical and later poets which explicitly address a boy (pesar) as the subject of the poet's love […]”.


According to Burton[63], the love of boys was “popular and endemic” within the “Sotadic Zone”, roughly covering the Mediterranean shores (France, Italy, Greece, North-coastal Africa), Middle and Far East, the South Sea Islands, southern native America and the Middle Americas. An interesting collection of historical data is provided by Drake (1966/1992)[64]. Boy prostitution is said to have been common (Drew and Drake, 1969:p71-96)[65]. In Turkey homosexual acts with boys over 12 were legal in many areas. Shiraz (Iran) was described as a hotbed of vice where dancing boys are greeted with rapturous applause[66]. In the European provinces of the Ottoman Empire, a “child tax” was institutionalised to recruit handsome and talented boys for the Emperor’s service.


Cline (1936:p43)[67] observed that “all normal Siwan men and boys practice sodomy”. The boys are catamites (according to Cline there were no boy marriages, but this was suggested by other authors), aged 12 to 18, and are exchanged between the men. 59 out of 60 would have been catamites themselves when young[68]. The issue was reviewed by Murray (1997:p37-41; cf. Adam[69]).


Bombay anthropologist Gopal (1969:p167)[70] stated that North Indian and Afghanistan males, known for their extraordinary libido, “almost always prefer smaller boys”. In Afghanistan, where women, at least until very recently, wore Burkas, men who have homosexual relations do not consider themselves homosexual, at least not in the Western sense. “I like boys, but I like girls better”, one man argues, “It’s just that we can’t see the women to see if they are beautiful. But we can see the boys, and so we can tell which of them is beautiful”[71].



Additional refs.:


§         Dale, S. F. (1990) Steppe Humanism: The Autobiographical Writings of Zahir al-Din Muhammad Babur, 1483-1530, Int J Middle East Studies 22,1:37-58

§         Dunne, B. W. (1990) Homosexuality in the Middle East: An Agenda for Historical Research, Arab Studies Quart 12,3-4:55-82

§         van Pel, Ankie (2004) Wijn en knapenliefde in de middeleeuwse Arabische poëzie. Lecture, Stichting Habibi Ana (translated in Koinos Mag  #45, 2005/1)





Boys in Central Asia, called batshas, would be trained from childhood on in erotic songs and dances[72]. Baldauf (1988; 1990)[73] wrote on Uzbek (Northern Afghanistan) love of boys known as Bačabozlik[74]. The Bača was pubertal (11-18), optimally 12 to 16 years old. Jazayery[75] (p198n1) assumes that the terms bachchihbâz and bachchihbâzî (Persian, homosexual, homosexuality) imply the other “partner” to be “a child (bachchih), or very young boy”. Specifically, however, “[e]ines Knaben vor einsetzen der Pubertät zum Bača zu nehmen gilt als Sünde (guno) […]” (B., 1990:p13). The end of the Bača coincides with barbarche (the sprouting of facial hair). This custom may go forth on 19th century Afghanistan’s boy harems (Patai, 1960:p156)[76]. In ®Albania, likewise, boys were loved from age 12 upward: “Die Knaben […] werden von zwölften Jahre an geliebt, und mit den 16. oder 17. Verlassen (Von Hahn, 1853:p166-8)”[77] (also cited by Ellis, 1927)[78]. Burton (1885): “Of Turkistan we know little, but what we know confirms my statement. Mr. Schuyler in his Turkistan(i. 132)[[79]] offers an illustration of a ‘Batchah’ (Pers. bachcheh = catamite), or singing-boy surrounded by his admirers”. He further notes that “The Afghans are commercial travellers on a large scale and each caravan is accompanied by a number of boys and lads almost in woman’s attire with kohl’d eyes and rouged cheeks, long tresses and henna’d fingers and toes, riding luxuriously in Kajawas or camel-panniers: they are called Kuch-i safari, or travelling wives, and the husbands trudge patiently by their sides”.


Even today,


“[…] there seems to be a particular customary sexual behaviour of the NWFP of Pakistan wherein older, wealthy people keep attractive young boys for sexual pleasure. The issue of sex and sexuality is very complex and not well researched in NWFP. Gender segregation and male control of social space and economic resources are socially accepted. Gender roles and rules are strictly defined not only in terms of the physical body but also in terms of social duties and obligations. Transgression of societal rules can be severely punished through stigmatization, social exclusion, physical abuse and even death. Adolescent boys are not considered adults because this is a state defined by marriage. As “beardless youth”, adolescent boys are viewed as sexually available to men. “Balkey” is a common word used for these boys. It was not clear how such practices in the NWFP have influenced general male relationships with young boys throughout Pakistan. In Balochistan, for example, such relationships appear to be publicly intolerable. However, evidence of male affection for each other was visible in public places throughout Pakistan. Intense male friendships are formed within a framework of homosexual displays of affection, including extensive touching, body contact and even sharing of beds”[80].


Brongersma’s (1987:p105-7)[81] informants speak of illegal boy (and girl) marriages in Albania, in which fellatio is practised “until full maturity”.


For further references to “Islamic” age-stratified homosexuality, see the exhaustive collection by Murray and Roscoe[82].


"In March 1906, [an] essay studying the relationship between Russians,

Central Asians, and civilization appeared in Sredneazaiatskaia Zhizn.

67 Entitled “Down with Bachas,” the article argued that Russian tastes

for the exotic were directly responsible for the maintenance of one of

the most repulsive elements of local culture: bachas, Muslim dancing

boys who performed for male audiences in local teahouses. Even Islamic

priests, characterized as the most fanatical and ignorant segments of

the population, had agreed with tsarist authorities following the

conquest to institute a ban on the practice to protect against

pederasty. Wealthy Russians, however, had begun hiring dancing boys to

perform at local exhibitions, and their presence was once again

ubiquitous in Tashkent. 68"



SZ, 17 March 1906. [Sredneaziatskaia Zhizn’]


SZ, 17 March 1906.


From: Jeff Sahadeo, Carleton University “Down with Progress:” The Elusive Quest for Modernity in Russian Tashkent, 1905-14 (The Cultures of the Russian City: From the

Fin-de-Siècle to the Age of Revolution, St. Petersburg, Russia, June 2004)



Early Betrothal / Marriage: Islamic Regulations and Practice



In the ancient world, Jewish law seemed to require an act of intercourse for a betrothal to be recognised. Biale (1997:p127-9): “Since the early Middle Ages, the Jews of northern Europe who could afford to married their sons off very young, frequently at age thirteen or fourteen and sometimes even younger—this possibly in imitation of the nobility. The responsa literature over the course of centuries contains case after case of children married as minors, under thirteen for boys and under twelve for girls”. The Mishnah said: “A girl three years old and one day may be betrothed by intercourse […]” (Mishnah, Nid. V. 4; Danby, 1933:p750[83]; Duncan and Derrett, 1974:p26)[84]. Maimonides (A. D. 1180) states: “If she is three years and one day old she may be betrothed by an act of intercourse, with the consent of her father. If she is less than that, and her father has her betrothed by an act of intercourse, she is not betrothed” ([1972:p18][85]). Edwardes (1967a:p168)[86]: “The early-marriage tradition of Israel found acceptance in Christendom, whose precocious children bedded and wedded at or even before puberty; but that Talmudic mishnâh stating “A girl of the age of three years and a day may be betrothed by sexual intercourse”  inspired not a few Talmud-burnings and local pogroms”. This rule “grew out of an old Semitic tradition and cannot be dismissed as myth, nor is it simply a Talmudic academic exercise”, according to Rush (1980:p17-9)[87]. In actuality, Duncan and Derrett (ibid.) argue, ’Érūsîn (betrothal) was effected by a payment. At the time of St. Paul, girls were married at puberty or a little before.




Wegner[88] (as reviewed by Dawn Robinson Rose)[89]:


“The female lowest on the rungs of autonomy and status in this system is the minor daughter. As Wegner bluntly explains, “She is a sexual chattel.” ([Wegner] p. 21) She has a market price [200 zuz] if her virginity is delivered intact. If a man rapes or seduces her, he must pay the father the price for damaging his goods. If a bridegroom pays the 200 zuz and then discovers his wife is not a virgin, he can sue the father. The rabbis of the Mishnah [“the fundamental legal text forming the discursive backbone of the Talmud”] delineate very clearly when a bridegroom can legally expect his bride to be a virgin and when he cannot. Women who cannot be expected to be virgins include converts, freed captives, or former slaves, for it is presumed that women from these social backgrounds will have been promiscuous and/or preyed upon by men. If a girl were sexually assaulted before the age of three years and a day, rabbinic medicine determined that the hymen healed itself (or regenerated) and so upon puberty virginity was again intact (and the girl could claim full bride-price). Wegner notes that the rabbis utilize external, social factors to determine the virginity status of women and girls instead of physical examination. In her estimation, it is part of a worldview that considers girls and women sexual chattel. If these females were in these life situations, then they were most certainly used as sex objects and therefore their worth on the market has declined dramatically.


In considering the cases of rape and seduction of a minor daughter, Wegner finds further evidence of paternal ownership over the daughter’s sexuality. For example, in the case of seduction a perpetrator pays for shame and blemish. A closer reading of Mishnah Ketubot 3:7 reveals that not only are the actual moneys for the damages paid to the father, but the shame is according to his status in the community, not hers. The amount for “blemish” is calculated according to the differential between an enslaved virgin who is put up for sale and an enslaved woman who is no longer a virgin”.


Kecia Ali[90]:


“All four Sunni schools recognize the power of a father to contract binding marriages for both his sons and his daughters so long as they are minors (up to the age of nine or onset of menstruation for girls and puberty, up to age fifteen at the latest, for boys). The children have no say in the matter (though a boy married against his wishes may, of course, exercise his power to divorce his wife unilaterally once he matures). There is disagreement on whether other guardians may contract marriages for minors under their care. Some hold that guardians aside from the father may not contract marriages for minors at all. Others hold that they may, but both boys and girls will have the option to reject the marriage when they come of age. In either view, as minors, both boys and girls are subject to compulsion to marry to an equal degree”.


The Cur’an indicates maturity rather than a specific age limit for nuptial status. Although the Talmud recommended that a daughter be given in marriage when na’rah, between the ages of twelve and twelve and a half, a father could marry her off well before that time. A boy reached his majority at age 13 and was then eligible to negotiate his own affairs. According to classical Islamic law marriage of minors is permitted “provided it was contracted on their behalf by parents or, in the absence of parents, by other suitable guardians, and provided that the minor, on attaining puberty, could renounce it before consummation of the marriage” (Rahman, 1980:p455)[91]. Patai (1962:p100-5)[92] observed that, for a number of reasons, early marriage is an age-old Middle Eastern tradition, girls being socialised for marriage at ages 4 and 5 (cf., El Masry, 1962)[93].


Age-stratified marriage was found to be practised by the Jews, Arabs, Persians, and Indiens (Englisch, 1932:p31)[94]. “Since marriage was intended to control sexual energy, the age of marriage was an important consideration. One passage that would echo long and loud for Ashkenazic Jews throughout the Middle Ages held that a man who marries off his sons and daughters near the period of puberty (samukh le-firkan) will receive the scriptural blessing: “you shall know that your tent is in peace” (Job 5:24), 101 evidently understood to mean that if one’s children were married, they would not succumb to sexual temptation” (Biale, 1997:p49-50)[95]. Apparently 40% of Muslim marriages around 17th century Palestine (1585-1670), at least in the region of Ramla, involved “children” under the age of 15 (Motzki, 1987)[96]. Drawing on different sijills from nineteenth-century Palestine and fatw¨s of Khayr al-DÂn al-RamlÂ, Yazbak (2002)[97] examines the phenomenon of child marriage and the practice of khiy¨r al-bulâgh, literally ‘option of puberty’.


“If a natural guardian contracts a marriage for a minor child, male or female, the child may not subsequently have the contract annulled. Whereas a boy enjoys the right to divorce his wife through the mechanism of ßal¨q as soon as he reaches his majority, a girl who reaches her majority must approach the court if she wants to dissolve a marriage (faskh), and she may do so only if she was married while a minor by a non-natural guardian. In this case, she may exercise her right of khiy¨r al-bulâgh immediately upon reaching her legal majority, i.e., at the onset of her first menstruation. But she must make a public declaration of the occurrence of menstruation so that the persons who hear the declaration may serve as witnesses on her behalf”.


Child engagement was not uncommon in sixteenth-century Anatolia (Pierce, 1997:p173). “Both pubescent boys and pubescent girl […] might be “carnally desirable” […], and thus the potential object of the desire of adult males”. This would be at least at age 12, and if puberty appeared delayed, 17 for girls and 18 for boys. In Palestine, Syria and Egypt of the 16th century, marrying off Jewish girls of less then twelve years was quite common; from the age of twelve girls were considered marriageable (Lamdan, 2000:p46)[98]. Girls were often married before puberty, but this was frowned upon (ibid., p52, 146). 16th century Jewish history reveals a prevalence of girl “child” marriage, many of whom were between 12 and 14 years of age (Lamdan, 1996)[99]. The early marriage age may be attributed to several factors: an attempt to prevent the temptation of sexual relations before marriage; the effort to arrange the best possible match both socially and economically; the insecurity of diaspora Jews during the age of expulsions from Spain and Ottoman expansion, moving them to establish ties that would assure the children’s financial future; and the desire to raise a new generation of Jews as quickly as possible to assure the continuity of their people.


“Child” marriage was prohibited in Egypt in 1923, in Jordan (1951), Syria (1953), Morocco (1958), Iraq (1959), and further[100]. In the case of Egypt, however, some girls may still have been married prethelarchically[101]. Today, “[c]hild marriage, at least in its more extreme forms, has been restricted in a number of Muslim countries, whether by criminal sanction or by procedural device forbidding the courts to entertain any disputed matrimonial cause in respect of an unregistrated marriage, and forbidding marriage registrars to register a contract in which the parties have not reached specified ages” (Anderson, 1971:p24)[102]. “Among both Turks and Arabs, the young unmarried girl is “loved” by her older brothers and father, but as she reaches puberty they are faced with a state they cannot “control”, that is, their daughter’s or sister’s sexuality [[103]]. The girl must therefore be married, and among both rural peoples, marriage normally occurs promptly after the onset of puberty[104]” (Meeker, 1976:p390)[105]; betrothal among the Arabs could be effected before birth (Meeker, p416; Granqvist, p146). In pre-WO II South Arabia, “[t]he child is never consulted, at least on the first marriage, about her views on the spouse. In any case she is but a child. Early marriages in both sexes are usual, and incidences where one party or the other has not reached the age of puberty are not rare, but that is no hindrance to marital relations”[106]. 1960s’ Beirut prostitutes had had their first sexual experiences at 12-13 in 41.5% (5.4 before age 12), with half of all respondents reporting this occurred with their husbands, a fact indicative of early marriage (Khalaf, 1965:p33-5)[107]. Marriage at age 13 was common in Oman (Wikan, 1982:p60-1)[108] and in Yemen (Dorsky, 1981:p99)[109]. In Albania, betrothal in early childhood was probably customary from the late 17th century till at least the early twentieth (Durham, 1908:p458-9)[110].

Early marriage for both men and women was a common practice in Iran.

Stirling (1965)[111] could not add to data provided by Yasa (1957:p105-6)[112] who reported cases of child marriage in Turkey, involving no more than the transferring of a child to its future spouse’s household: “Formal childhood betrothal appears to be unknown”.




Further refs.:


§         Peppelenbosch, P. & Teune, E. (1976 [1971]) De Wereld der Arabieren. 2nd rev ed. Bussum [Holland]: Romen, p108-11 [Dutch]





Current Age of Consent[113]


For details, one is to consult ECPAT[114], Interpol[115] and ILGA[116]. See also Median and Minimum Legal Age at Marriage, Age at First Sexual Intercourse, and Premarital Sexual Experience tables (Population Reports, Volume XXIII, Number 3; October, 1995). Graupner (2000)[117] lists the age of consent for Turkey (1858): 15/18 (vaginal and anal intercourse). ECPAT (Oct., 2002) offers data on AoC laws for the following countries: Iran (extramar.)[118], Iraq (extramar.)[119], Jordan (15)[120], Kuwait ([15])[121], Lebanon (15)[122], and Oman ([15]?)[123].


In Morocco, no sexual activity is allowed with a child until his fifteenth birthday (Art. 484, Penal Code). In Algeria, the age of consent is 16(Law no. 82-04 [13.02.1982] Art. 334); in Rwanda, and in Uganda, it is 18; in Tonga, it is 16. In Tunisia, the age of consent was fixed at20 years for both sexes. Consent is invalid if the “victim” is below age 13 (Art. 227, penal code). If the victim is more than 13 years and less than 15 years, the author will be punished by 6 years of prison (Art. 227a). If the victim is above 15 years and less than 20 years, it will be punished by 5 years of prison. In Egypt, “[a]ny person who rapes a boy or a girl minor, not yet full eighteen (18) years old, without using violence or threat, is to be punished by imprisonment. 2.  If the victim is under full seven years or if the offender is one of those involved in the second paragraph of the article 267, punishment of penal servitude for a certain period of time is to be inflicted” (Art. 267, Penal Code)[124]. Albania’s current regulations on ‘Unlawful sexual intercourse with Minors’, (Art.100, Penal Code) states that “[c]ommitting unlawful sexual intercourse with a girl, under the age of fourteen (14) or having not reached the age of puberty, is punished by imprisonment term varying from five (5) to fifteen (15) years”[125]. In Armenia (Art. 114, Penal Code), sexual acts are forbidden under the age of 16, or before puberty. In the Azerbaijan Republic, article 111 of the Criminal Code specifies criminal responsibility for sexual relations with a person aged under sixteen. Sexual intercourse with a person aged below sixteen years shall be punished with imprisonment for up to 3 years. The same actions committed in a perverted way or with a view of satisfaction of sexual passion shall be punished with imprisonment for up to 5 years according to article 112[126]. In Lebanon, the age of consent in 15 (Art. 5, Penal Code). The age of Consent in Iraq is said to be 14 for females, and 17 for males. In Iran, it would be 18, although it had been lowered to 15 “(or 13, in some accounts)” by the 1979 constitution[127]. In Israel, it is 16. In Oman,sexual activities or acts are not allowed, except in Legal Marriage, for which no legal age exists. In Syria, the Civil code (Order in Council No. 59 of 1953 and its amendments) defined in its article 18 the age of maturity (sexual activity): 15 years for the boy and 13 years for the girl. In Turkey,crimes against public decency and family order include “removing the virginity of a girl who has completed fifteen years of age, with a promise of marriage” (Art. 423, Criminal Code). In Pakistan, No age limit has been fixed for consenting to a sexual activity. However, for the punishment of “Zina” (sexual intercourse without being validly married to each other) liable to “Hadd”, the person committing the offence should be adult/major (Section 5 of the offence of Zina, Enforcement of Hudood Ordinance, 1979)[128].



Genital Morphology Alteration Practices

Foster (1994)[129]: “The widespread practice of female circumcision in the Islamic world can be attributed to a variety of factors such as religious tradition and marital expectations. The conservative form of female circumcision found in Islamic communities indicate that the custom is genuinely Islamic resulting from the belief that Mohammed advocated the practice”. [See country pages for details]

Additional reading:

§         Okwubanego, J. T. (1999)Female circumcisionand thegirlchild in Africa and the Middle East: the eyes of the world are blind to the conquered, The International Lawyer33,1:159-87

§         Winkel E. (1995) A Muslim perspective on female circumcision, Women & Health 23,1:1-7


Sexual Upbringing: General and Historical Points


In a recent study[130], sex instruction manuals written in central Europe in the nineteenth century Palestine and Israel in the twentieth century form the basis for broader discussions on religious and scientific discourse on child and adolescent sexuality within the Jewish communities. By tracing the development of forms of expert knowledge, the authors show how expert discourse on masturbation gradually transformed it from a symbolic moral evil into a medical disease and a psychological problem, before declaring it a legitimised behaviour. Epstein[131], however, is remarkably silent about preadulthood.


According to Couchard (1987)[132], the “phallic”, all-powerful mother plays a chief role in her daughters’ sex education, as dictated by Moslem [muslim] custom and by her “societal superego”. Maternal discourse shapes a daughter’s phantasms of external realities and the male world. The reputation of a Moslem clan depends on the modesty and virginity rate of its female members. Threats, pleas, and magical secrets imposed on or offered to the girls by their mothers are all variations on themes such as menstruation and loss of virginity. The life of women is characterised by continual psychic pressure from birth, a subordinate social position, virginity requirements for marriage (which often takes place before first menstruation), and pregnancies soon after marriage, with a likelihood of childbirth injury and subsequent sterility[133].



The Upbringing of Children in Islam

Halstead (1997)[134] explores Muslim concepts of sex education on the occasion of “recent calls by Muslim leaders in Britain for Muslim parents to withdraw theft children from sex education classes”. Most importantly, “What underlies Muslim objections to contemporary practice in sex education is that it is based on a humanistic interpretation of the needs and will of the individual rather than on religious foundations [while f]or Muslims, an understanding of sexuality--and indeed all areas of life--should begin "not with internal demands felt by the individual, but with the will of God”. Thus, “It is the erosion of religious values in sex education in state schools in the West which many Muslims find unacceptable. They fear that Muslim children are not merely picking up information about practices which deviate from Islamic norms, they are being presented with a vision of life from which religion is excluded or at least relegated to the status of a variable”. More practically, full nudity videos offended decency concepts.

Van Gelder (1993:p36-40)[135] briefly sketches the role of Islam in the formation of sexual behaviour patterns in Moroccan men. Children of opposite sex can sleep in single rooms, given the idea that, according to an informant, “they don’t understand a thing yet” of sex; thereafter the child is socialised in Islamic teachings. In an Arabic book entitled “The Upbringing of Children in Islam[136], very specific codes are detailed concerning the behaviour of children.


“A child must not be allowed near anything that is liable to incite him sexually and thus mar his character. The period just before attaining maturity is the most sensitive time in the life of a person. Children of this age must not be allowed near women. At this age, they tend to differentiate between beauty and ugliness and sensual feelings grow in them. At ten years, their beds must be separated.Once, when he was about the age of maturity, ̉Hazrat Fazal glanced at a woman, the Holy Prophet may blessings of Allah and peace be on him physically turned his face the other way.̉Hazrat Abbªas enquired of the Prophet the reason for doing this. He said, “I saw a young man looking towards a young woman and feared they would succumb to base desire”.A guardian has a twofold responsibility in this regard.

To keep his ward away from sexually inciting things. When he is old enough, do not let him enter the house without permission at times of rest and sleep. If he sees his parents in an intimate position, he might feel sexually aflame. When he attains the age of nine, do not let him meet women who are strangers. When he is ten years old, do not let him sleep with his brothers and sisters. When he is conscious enough, see that he does not have an opportunity to see those parts of a woman’s body that are normally covered. Do not allow him to see films on television or in cinema. Let him not see vulgar films, magazines and romantic novels, or listen to audio cassettes that provoke sentiments. Make it a habit to inspect his room, his bed and his belongings. Prevent him from meeting female relatives or neighbours even though they may be attending the same school” [refs. omitted].


The non-Islamic case is dealt with as an exemplum malum: “We find many stories of hopeless cases in Europe and America [ref. omitted] Students, boys and girls, waste all their time in writing romantic letters with catastrophic results. […] [The boy] must be awake to the intrigues hatched by the Jews, Zionists, Christians, and colonial powers to evoke social and moral corruption and vulgarity in societies. He will then watch out for the snares in the guise of women, film, theatre, magazines, newspapers, radio, television, vulgar dresses, nude pictures, and dens of prostitution, clandestine or known”.


Beck[137] argues that puberty “brings with it not increased independence, but further restrictions and controls, particularly as regards contacts between the sexes, modesty, and sexual taboos. These are imposed earlier and more rigidly on the girls, for a girl must never be permitted to shame herself. If she does, her father is considered to blame” (p345).




The Upbringing of Children in Judaism


Rapoport and Garb[138] argue that “[…] religious Zionism is strongly ambivalent towards the Westernised conceptions of adolescent sexuality and the female emancipatory agenda of secular Zionism”. Specifically,


“Religious Zionist boys and girls are instructed to behave as if they belong to separate worlds, which are expected to come together only in marriage. The Ulpana [“an elitist educational framework, established in the mid-1960s, that offers the 'cream' of religious adolescent girls a modern religious education in the confines of a single-sex boarding school”] strongly reinforces this message. The young women are discouraged from forming intimate relations with boys, yet this separation is partial and complex: they relate to boys outside the school (e.g. in the religious youth movement, in their home environment)”.


Music is of particular concern: “Whilst in childhood, music is not regarded as a threat to a girl's chastity, in adolescence the sexual and gentile connotations of popular music render it a major threat to her modesty and honour”. Swimming: “the beach--where Israelis and tourists, especially young women and men, rub shoulders during the summer--becomes threatening in adolescence, even if before puberty it was considered harmless”.


Hauptman (1998)[139] (as reviewed by Dawn Robinson Rose)[140]:


“To begin, according to the Torah, seduction and rape of an unwed girl were crimes against her father, for he would not only lose the anticipated bride-price for his daughter’s virginity but also have the onus of having to marry off “damaged goods.” Torah law is concerned with giving him justice. In Exodus 22:15–16 and Deuteronomy 22:28–29, we find the laws that stipulate money (a payment for damages) given to the father and the daughter married by both the seducer (Exodus) and the rapist (Deuteronomy).


The view in the Mishnah is markedly changed. A fixed sum for damages is still paid to the father, but in addition the seducer pays variable amounts for shame and blemish; the rapist pays for shame, blemish, and pain. These added categories relate to and are in compensation for whatever it is that is felt by and happens to the girl herself. The difference between this and the bare Biblical law cannot be overstated. The legal focus has been moved to the girl. Out of the five categories of compensatory damages generally prescribed in mishnaic law (damage or blemish, medical expenses, lost wages, shame, and pain) two have been awarded the seduced girl and three the raped.


In Babylonian Talmud Ketubot 39 a–b, the rabbis attempt to understand pain from a legal standpoint, pain being part of what distinguishes seduction from rape, according to Mishnah Ketubot 3:4. What is the pain a girl, a virgin, experiences during rape? Their ignorance is painful. “It was pain because she was pushed down!” “But what if she was pushed down on silk pillows (i.e., she would not feel pain).” […]




  • Robert Etzkin. How Parenting Style And Religiosity Affect The Timing Of Jewish Adolescents’ Sexual Debut. A Thesis Presented To The Graduate School Of The University Of Florida In Partial Fulfillment Of The Requirements For The Degree Of Master Of Science University Of Florida 2004 http://purl.fcla.edu/fcla/etd/UFE0004980
  • Carr, S. A. (2003) “L.I.E., The Believer, and the Sexuality of Jewish Boys”, in Snips, Snails, and Puppydog Tails: Cinemas of Boyhood. Frances Gateward and Murray Pomerance, eds. Contemporary Film and Television Series. Detroit MI: Wayne State U P, in press (2003).



A casus about Mezizah:


According to Talmudic laws, "[...] the man who circumcises the infant,

the mohel, must suck the infant's bleeding penis with his mouth" using

wine as an antiseptic, something called Mezizah/Metsitsah/Metzitzah.

There has been considerable medical debate (see refs.). I'm interested

here in the production of moral discourse, however. I found only one

unelaborated historical clue:


Medicine and The German Jews

John M. Ephron.

extract of Chapter 6, http://www.cirp.org/library/history/ephron1


"Critics of ritual circumcision were particularly hostile to the act of

metsisah, sucking the wound. For many Jews, primarily those who had

joined the German middle class and had come to share the culture and

aesthetic sensibilities of that group, metsitsah appeared to be an

atavistic, sexually deviant act.[n143] "


[n143] For the most comprehensive treatment of see Jacob Katz, "The

Controversy over the Mezizah: The Unrestricted Execution of the Rite of

Circumcision," in his Divine Law in Human Hands, 337-402.




Benjamin Gesundheit et al.

Neonatal Genital Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1 Infection After Jewish

Ritual Circumcision: Modern Medicine and Religious Tradition

Pediatrics, Aug 2004; 114: e259 - 263.




Hymen Cult

An exponent of the hymen cult is hymen reconstruction (hymenorrhaphy, hymenoplasty)[141] said to occur in Morcocco[142], Egypt[143], Jordan[144], and also China. Hymen repair is illegal in most Arab countries but is said to have been performed unofficially throughout the Islamic world, with specialists doing five or six a week. The matter presents ethical issues in non-Islamic countries[145]. Of course, Islamic doctors are well aware of the fact that the coital truth of anatomical non-intactness is not a complete one. At the Medical Jurisprudence Third Symposium on “The Islamic Vision of Some Medical Practices” held from 18-21 April, 1987 A.D., Sheikh M. Al-Ghazali argued: “I swear to God, girls have come to me, they only played with themselves, and I believe them because their tears were faster than their words […][146]”. El Saadawi (1980:p15-8)[147] relates that girls are refrained from masturbation by fear for their hymen; on the other hand, they would be frequently touched by their brothers.




The User of this Atlas will note that the author has not specifically focussed on medical issues per se, although some of contemporary material surfaced in the context of HIV/AIDS discussions. For USAID HIV/AIDS profiles outline country- and region-specific information on epidemiology, factors contributing to the disease's spread, challenges faced in mitigating the epidemic, national- and regional-level responses to date, and a summary of USAID-funded HIV/AIDS activities, go http://www.synergyaids.com/summaries.asp, “Asia/Near East” section. Also consider http://hivinsite.ucsf.edu/global?page=cr06-00-00.




Additional refs.:


·         El-Kak, Faysal (2005) Adolescent Sexuality in the Arab Region: Where the Pendulum Swings? IASSCS (International Association For The Study Of Sexuality, Culture And Society) 2005 Conference on Sexual Rights and Moral Panics. 21-25 June, San Francisco

·         Khattab, Hind A. S. (2005) Sexuality Education—A View from the Middle East. IASSCS (International Association For The Study Of Sexuality, Culture And Society) 2005 Conference on Sexual Rights and Moral Panics. 21-25 June, San Francisco



Janssen, D. F., Growing Up Sexually. Volume I. World Reference Atlas. 0.2 ed. 2004. Berlin: Magnus Hirschfeld Archive for Sexology

Last revised: Sep 2005



[1] See also Sub-Saharan Africa, India, Asia, Indonesia

[2] Bullough, V. L. (1973) The Subordinate Sex. Urbana: University of Illinois Press

[3] Farah, M. (1984) Marriage and Sexuality in Islam. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, p16. Bukhari’s Hadith, translated into English by Dr. Muhammad Muhsin Khan: “Narrated Aisha that the prophet wrote the marriage contract with her when she was six years old and he consummated his marriage when she was nine years old. Hisham said: “I have been informed that Aisha remained with the prophet for nine years [i.e. till his death]” ” (vol. 7:p65): “Narrated Urwa: “The prophet wrote the [marriage contract] with Aisha while she was six years old and consummated his marriage with her while she was nine years old and she remained with him for nine years [i.e. till his death]” ” (vol. 7:p88); “Narrated Aisha: The prophet engaged me when I was a girl of six. We went to Medina and stayed at the home of Harith Kharzraj. Then I got ill and my hair fell down. Later on my hair grew (again) and my mother, Um Ruman, came to me while I was playing in a swing with some of my girl friends. She called me, and I went to her, not knowing what she wanted to do to me. She caught me by the hand and made me stand at the door of the house. I was breathless then, and when my breathing became all right, she took some water and rubbed my face and head with it. Then she took me into the house. There in the house I saw some Ansari women who said, “Best wishes and Allah’s blessing and a good luck”. Then she entrusted me to them and they prepared me (for the marriage). Unexpectedly Allah’s messenger came to me in the forenoon and my mother handed me over to him, and at that time I was a girl of nine years of age” (Vol. 5:p234). “Aisha reported: Allah’s Messenger married me when I was six years old, and I was admitted to his house at the age of nine […]” (Hadith of Sahih Muslim, Vol.2:p3309). “Aisha said, “The Apostle of Allah married me when I was seven years old” (The narrator Sulaiman said: “Or six years”). “He had intercourse with me when I was 9 years old” (Hadith of the Sunan of Abu Dawud, Vol.2:p2116). Tabari’s 39 volume history of Islam tells its readers: “[....] my marriage [to Muhammad] was consummated when I was nine [...]” (Vol.7:p7). Also: “Then the men and women got up and left. The Messenger of God consummated his marriage with me in my house when I was nine years old. Neither a camel nor a sheep was slaughtered on behalf of me [...] [The Prophet] married her three years before the Emigration, when she was seven years old and consummated the marriage when she was nine years old, after he had emigrated to Medina in Shawwal. She was eighteen years old when he died” (Vol.9:p131). The Encyclopedia of Islam, under “Aisha” (E. J. Brill) states: “Some time after the death of Khadija, Khawla suggested to Muhammad that he should marry either Aisha, the 6 year old daughter of his chief follower, or Sawda Zama, a widow of about 30, who had gone as a Muslim to Abyssinia and whose husband had died there. Muhammad is said to have asked her to arrange for him to marry both. It had already been agreed that Aisha should marry Djubayr Mutim, whose father, though still pagan, was friendly to the Muslims. By common consent, however, this agreement was set aside, and Muhammad was betrothed to Aisha [...]. The marriage was not consummated until some months after the Hidjra, (in April 623, 624). Aisha went to live in an apartment in Muhammad’s house, later the mosque of Median. She cannot have been more than ten years old at the time and took her toys to her new home”.

From the Muslim book Women in Islam by Said Abjullah Seif-Al-Hatimy, published by Islamic Publications in Lahore Pakistan: “[...] [Aisha] was the youngest of his wives. It is said that she was nine years of age when he married her”.

There has been some confusion about the definition of the word “consummate”. In Sahih Bukhari, vol. 7,p64, the root word used is “dakhala”. According to the Hans-Wehr Arabic-English Dictionary (p273), it means “to enter, to pierce, to penetrate, to consummate the marriage, cohabit, sleep with a woman”.

[4] Bullough, V. L. (1976) Sexual Variance in Society and History. Chicago & London: University of Chicago Press

[5] Antoun, R. T. (1980) The Islamic Court, the Islamic Judge, and the Accommodation of Traditions: A Jordanian Case Study, Int J Middle East Stud 12,4:455-67

[6] Rizvi, S. M. (undated) Marriage & Morals in Islam. Vancouver Islamic Educational Foundation. Qum: Ansariyan Publications

[7] Motzki, H. (1985) Geschlechtsreife und Legitimation zur Zeugung im frühen Islam, in Müller, E. W. (Ed.) Geschlechtsreife und Legitimation zur Zeugung. München: K. Alber, p479-550

[8]Francoeur, R. T. (1990) Current religious doctrines of sexual and erotic development in childhood, in Perry, M. E. (Ed.) Handbook of Sexology volume VII: Childhood and Adolescent Sexology. Amsterdam: Elsevier, p80-112

[9] El-Behairy, M. (1994) Islam: sexual relations in the Muslim world, in Bullough, V. L. & Bullough, B. (Eds.) Human Sexuality: An Encyclopedia. New York & London: Garland Publ. Inc.

[10] Edwardes, A. & Masters, R. E. L. (1961) The Cradle of Erotica. N.Y.: The Julian Press. See also Edwardes, A. (1959) The Jewel in the Lotus. N.Y.: The Julian Press

[11] Edwardes, A. (1967b) Self-stimulation among Arabs and Jews, in Masters, R. E. L. (Ed.) Sexual Self-Stimulation. Los Angeles: Sherbourne Press, p304-14. Reprinted as “Die Selbstbefriedigung bei Arabern und Juden”, in Masters, R. E. L. (Ed., 1969) Das Heimliche Laster. München: Lichtenberg Verlag, p197-204

[12] On Judaic interests in masturbation: “There is much uplifting homiletic and instructive literature that ranges from looking on onanism as a corrupting practice to seeing it as a wasteful and diverting substitute for authentic human relations. Sometimes it is seen as an acceptable release of tensions in a situation where other releases are not possible. Some modern Jewish thinkers would incline to the latter view. Some past thinkers dealt with it very little or not at all”. Podet, A. H. (1994) Judaism and sexuality, in Bullough, V. L. & Bullough, B. (Eds.) Human Sexuality: An Encyclopedia. New York & London: Garland Publ.. Inc. [A work that might prove of interest is Havre, V. du (1847) Cause Morale De La Circoncision des Israélites, Institution Préventive de L'onanisme des Enfants et des Principales Causes d'Epuisement : Réhabilitation et Réforme.]

[13] DeMause, L. (1991) The Universality of Incest, J Psychohist 19,2:123-64. See also DeMause, L. (nd) The Emotional Life of Nations. Karnac Books, Limited, UK. Online ed., chapter 7

[14] Edwardes and Masters, The Cradle of Erotica, p40, 42, 239-45 [orig.footnote]

[15] The Emotional Life of Nations, ch. 3 / DeMause, L. (2002) The childhood origins of terrorism,J Psychohist 29,4:340-8

[16] Minai, N. (1981) Women in Islam. New York: Seaview/London: Murray

[17] Buitelaar, M. & Van Gelder, G. J. (1996) Het Badhuis tussen Hemel en Hel. Amsterdam: Bulaaq [Dutch]

[18] Drew, P. E. (1997) Iran, in Francoeur, R. T. (Ed.) The International Encyclopedia of Sexuality. New York: Continuum. Quoted from the online edition

[19] Serhane, A. ([1995]) L’Amour Circoncis: Essai. 2nd ed. Casablanca: Editions Eddif

[20] Ferid Boughedir; Tunisia / France, 1990. For a further impression see Hayes, J. (2000) Queer Nations: Marginal Sexualities in the Maghreb. Chicago, ill. [etc.]: University of Chicago Press, p241-61

[21] Mernissi, F. (1994) Dreams of Trespass: Tales of a Harem Girlhood. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley

[22] An interesting parallel, Newson and Newson (1968:p363-5) discussed the developmental difference in “looking” and “seeing” in American four-year-olds.

[23] Bouhdiba, A. (1985) Sexuality in Islam. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, p165, 169, 171,173; as quoted by DeMause (1991), op.cit

[24] Messina, M. G. (1991) Celebrations of the Body. Dissertation, Stony Brook (State University of New York)

[25] Cf. Volume II, chapter 9

[26] Patai, R. (1967) The Hebrew Goddess. New York: Ktav Publ. House. Also cited by Duerr, H. P. (1988) Nacktheit und Scham. Frankfurt a. M.: Suhrkamp. Vol. 1 of Der Mythos vom Zivilizationprocess. 2nd ed., p202

[27] Miner, H. M. & De Vos, G. (1960) Oasis and Casbah. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. Also quoted by Edwardes (1967a:xiii)

[28] Ammar, H. (1954) Growing Up in an Egyptian Village. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul

[29] Ford, C. S. & Beach, F. A. (1951) Patterns of Sexual Behavior. New York: Harper & Row

[30] Pastner, C. M. (1980) Sexual Dichotomization in Society and Culture: The Women of Pandjgur, Baluchistan. Ann Harbor: University Microfilms International; Duerr (1988, I:p202), op.cit.

[31] Delaney, C. (1991) The Seed and the Soil. Berkeley (etc.): University of California Press

[32] Olson, E. A. (1981) Socioeconomic and psychocultural contexts of child abuse and neglect in Turkey, in Korbin, J. (Ed.) Child Abuse and Neglect: Cross-Cultural Perspectives. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, p96-119

[33] Cited by Olson (1981:p108), op.cit.

[34] Olson (1981:p108n), op.cit.

[35] Cited by Olson (1981:p108), op.cit.



[38] Kasriel, M. ([1990]) Libes Femmes du Haute-Atlas? Paris: L’Armattan

[39] Mernissi, F. ([1985]) Beyond the Veil. London: Al Saqi. 2nd rev. ed.

[40]Sprachman, Suppressed Persian, 77 [orig. footnote] See Sprachman, P. (tr., 1995) Suppressed Persian: An Anthology of Forbidden Literature. Costa Mesa, CA: Mazda Park

[41] Shirazi, F. (2001) The Veil Unveiled : The Hijab in Modern Culture. Gainesville: University Press ofFlorida

[42] Murray, S. O. (1987) The Mamlukes, in Murray, S. O. (Ed.) Cultural Diversity and Homosexualities. New York: Irvington, p213-9; Greenberg, D. F. (1988) The Construction of Homosexuality. Chicago & London: Chicago University Press, p31

[43] Hardman, P. (1990) Homoaffectionism. San Fransisco: ONE Institute Press/ GLB Press; Williams, W. L. (1998) Social acceptance of same-sex relationships in families: models from other cultures, in D’Augelli, A. & Patterson, Ch. (Eds.) Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Identities in Families. New York: Oxford University Press; Williams, W. L. (2000) Reply to Kirkpatrick, Current Anthropol 41,3:403-5

[44] Benjamin, H. & Masters, R. E. L. (1964) Prostitution and Morality. New York: Julian Press


[46] Rouadjia, A. (1991) La prostitution dans les villes, in Lacoste, C. & Lacoste, Y. (Eds.) L’État du Maghreb. Paris: La Decouverte, p237-8. See also Hanlo, J. (1971) Go to the Mosk. Amsterdam: Van Oorschot. More secondary reading in Mrabet, M. (1993) Chocolate Creams and Dollars, transl. from Arabic by Paul Bowles. New York: Inanout Press

[47] Op.cit.

[48] Roth, N. (1982) “Deal gently with the young man”: love of boys in medieval Hebrew poetry of Spain, Speculum 57:20-51; Roth, N. (1984) “My Beloved is Like a Gazelle”, imagery of the beloved boy in Hebrew Religious Poetry, Hebrew Ann Rev 8:143-65; Roth, N. (1989) The care and feeding of Gazelles: Medieval Arabic and Hebrew Love poetry, in Lazar, M. & Lacy, N. J. (Eds.) Poetics of Love in the Middle Ages. Fairfax, Va.: G. Mason University Press, p95-118 ; Roth, N. (1991) “Fawn of my delights”: boy-love in Hebrew and Arabic verse, in Salisbury, J. (Ed.) Sex in the Middle Ages: A Book of Essays. New York: Garland, p157-72; Roth, N. (1994) Boy-love in Medieval Arabic Verse, Paidika 3,3:12-7; Garcia Gomez, E. (Ed., 1975) In Praise of Boys: Moorish Poems from Al-Andalus. Transl. from Spanish by Erskine Lane. San Francisco: Gay Sunshine Press; Al-Nawadji, M. / Khawam, R. R. (Ed., 1989) La Prairie des Gazelles : Éloge des Beaux Adolescents. Paris: Phébus; Al Sharif Al Radi / Wormhoudt, A. (transl., 1988) Selection from the Diwan of Al Aharif Abu al Hasan Muhammad al radi al Musi. [Oskaloosa, IO]: William Penn College; Schippers, A. (1983) Knaapjes-Poëzie in de Arabisch- en Hebreeuws-Andalusische Literatuur (11e en 12e eeuw). Amsterdam: [s.n.] Speech delivered to Colloquium Vriendjespoëtiek, Nov. 3 [avail. from Homodok, Amsterdam]. Cf. Bürgel, J. Ch. (1992) Abglanz Gottes oder Fallstrick Satans? : Zum homoerotischen Element in der Dichtung des islamitischen Mittelalters, in Stemmler, Th. (Ed.)  Homoerotische Lyrik, 6. Kolloquium der Forschungsstelle für Europäische Lyrik des Mittelalters. Mannheim: Narr, p103ff

[49] Haas, V. (1999) Babylonischer Liebesgarten. München: Beck

[50] Schild, M. (1985) De Citadel van Integriteit. Doctoral Dissertation, Rijksuniversiteit Utrecht, the Netherlands; Schild, M. (1988) The irresistible beauty of boys: middle eastern attitudes about boy-love, Paidika 1,3:37-48

[51] Farah (1984:p38-9)

[52] Mukhtar, M. H. (?) Tarbiyat-e-Aulad aur Islam [The Upbringing of Children in Islam]. dar-ut-Tasneef, Jamiat ul-Uloom Il-Islamiyyah allama Banuri Town Karachi. English translation by Rafiq Abdur Rahman. Transl. esp. Chapter 11: Responsibility for Sexual Education.

[53] Riyad-us-Saliheen, Book 17, Chapter 290: Prohibition of Gazing at Women and Beardless Handsome Boys Except in Exigency.Compiled by Al-Imam Abu Zakariya Yahya bin Sharaf An-Nawawi Ad-Dimashqi [undated; http://www.wponline.org/vil/hadeeth/riyad/17/chap290.htm]

[54] Another translation [Rev. J.M. Rodwell, M.A.] provides the following phrases: “[…] youths shall go round among them beautiful as imbedded pearls” / “Aye-blooming youths go round among them. When thou lookest at them thou wouldest deem them scattered pearls”.

[55] as-Sulami, Dhikr an-niswa al-muta 'abbidat as sufiyyat translated by Rkia E. Cornell, Early Sufi Women. Louisville, KY: Fons Vitae, 1999, p78-9

[56] Cited in Pierce, L. P. (1997) Seniority, sexuality, and social order: the vocabulary of gender in early modern Ottoman society, in Zilfi, M. C. (Ed.) Women in the Ottoman Empire. Leiden [etc.] [Holland]: Brill, p169-96

[57] Rowson, E. K. (1991) The Categorization of Gender and Sexual Irregularity in Medieval Arabic Vice Lists, in Epstein, J. & Straub, K. (Eds.) Body Guards: The Cultural Politics of Ambiguity. New York & London: Routledge, p50-79

[58] Dunne, B. W. (1998) Power and Sexuality in the Middle East, Middle East Rep [MERIP] 28(206),1:8-12. Cf. Dunne, B. W. (1990) Homosexuality in the Middle East: An Agenda for Historical Research, Arab Studies Quart 12,3-4:55-82

[60] Ken Goffman aka RU Sirius & Dan Joy (2004) Counter Culture Through the Ages: From Abraham to Acid House. Villard. Cf. Bey, H. [pseud] (1993) Contemplation of the unbearded, Gayme 1,1:16-21; Wilson, Peter Lambourn [aka Hakim Bey] (1995) Contemplation of the Unbearded - The Rubaiyyat of Awhadoddin Kermani, Paidika [Holland] 3,4:13-22

[61] El-Rouayheb, Khaled (2005) The Love of Boys in Arabic Poetry of the Early Ottoman Period, 1500 – 1800, Middle Eastern Literatures 8,1:3-22. Cf. El-Rouayheb, Kh. (2003) Before homosexuality: pederasts, pathics, aesthetes and sodomists in Arabic-Islamic culture, 1500-1800. Cambridge Ph.D.; and El-Rouayheb, Kh. (2005) Before Homosexuality in the Arab-Islamic World, 1500-1800. Chicago: University of Chicago Press

[62] Encyclopædia Iranica. Encyclopaedia Iranica Foundation, 2003

[63] Burton, R. F. (1885-9) The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night. Vol. 10, p178-219. Cf. Stonefield, H. (1966) Burton’s terminal essay, Int J Greek Love 1,2:3-12; Dynes, W. R. (1990) Sotadic zone, in Dynes, W. R. (Ed.) Encyclopedia of Homosexuality. New York & London: Garland Publ. Inc. Vol II, p1235-6

[64] Drake, J. (1966) “Le Vice” in Turkey, Int J Greek Love 1:13-27. Reprinted in Dynes, W. R. & Donaldson, S. (Ed.s, 1992) Asian Homosexuality. New York & London: Garland, p27-41

[65] Drew, D. & Drake, J. (1969) Boys for Sale. New York: Brown Book Co.

[66] Browney, E. G. (1893) A Year Among the Persians. London: Black. Cf. Puterbaugh, G. (1990) Iran, in Dynes, W. R. (Ed.) Encyclopedia of Homosexuality. New York & London: Garland Publ. Inc.Vol I, p612-3

[67] Cline, W. B. (1936) Notes on the People of Siwa and EI Garah in the Libyan Desert. Menasha, Wisconsin: G. Banta

[68] Abdallah, M. (1917) Siwan Customs. Cambridge, Mass. Vol. I, p7

[69] Adam, B. D. (1990) Siwa Oasis, in Dynes, W. R. (Ed.) Encyclopedia of Homosexuality. New York & London: Garland Publ. Inc.Vol II, p1198

[70] Gopal, K. (1969) Schon im Kama Sutra, in Italiaander (Ed.) Weder Krankheit noch Verbrechen. Hamburg: Gala

[71] Reynolds, M. (2002) Kandahar’s Lightly Veiled Homosexual Habits, Los Angeles Times, April 3

[72] Gunther, J. (1939) Inside Asia. New York: Harper

[73] Baldauf, I. (1988) Die Knabeliebe in Mittelasien. Berlin: Das Arabische Buch; Baldauf, I. (1990) Boylove, folksong, and literature in Central Asia, Paidika 2,2:12-31. See also Foster, S. W. (1990) Afghanistan, in Dynes, W. R. (Ed.) Encyclopedia of Homosexuality. New York & London: Garland Publ. Inc. Vol I, p17-9

[74] Or bacaboazlik, bacaboyi. Cf. Murray, S. O. (1997) The will not to know, in Murray, S. O. & Roscoe, W. (1997) Islamic Homosexualities. New York: New York University Press, p14-54, at p32

[75] Jazayery, M. A. (1973) Ahmad Kasravi and the Controversy over Persian Poetry. 1. Kasravi's Analysis of Persian Poetry, Int J Middle East Studies 4,2:190-203

[76] Patai, R. (1960) Family, Love and the Bible. London: MacGibbon & Kee

[77]Von Hahn, J. G. ([1969]) Albanesische Studien, in Italiaander, R. (Ed.) Weder Krankheit Noch Verbrechen. Hamburg: Gala, p89-91. Von Hahn’s two-volume work was published in 1853/4. Cf. Näcke, P. (1908) Über Homosexualität in Albanien, Jb Sex Zwischenst 9:325-37. Reprinted as “On homosexuality in Albania”, Int J Greek Love 1,1:39-47. Also cited by Ellis (1927), cit. infra. See also Carpenter, E. (1908) Ioläus: An Anthology of Friendship, 1917 ed., New York: Mitchell Kennerley,citing Buckingham, J. S. (1829) Travels in Assyria, Media and Persia. London: Colburn & Bentley

[78] Ellis, H. (1927) Studies in the Psychology of Sex, Volume II: Sexual Inversion. 3rd ed.  [http://www.gutenberg.org/dirs/1/3/6/1/13611/13611-8.txt]

[79] Schuyler, Eu. (1876-7) Turkistan: Notes of a Journey in Russian Turkistan, Khokand, Bukhara, and Kuldja. 2 vols. New York: Scibner, Armstrong / London: Sampson Low, Marston, Searles & Rivington

[80] Sexually Abused and Sexually Exploited Children and Youth in Pakistan. A qualitative assessment of their health needs and available services in selected provinces. United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific Government of Japan National Commission for Child Welfare and Development (NCCWD). New York, 2001, p16-7

[81]Brongersma, E. (987) Jongensliefde, Deel 1. Amsterdam: SUA. See also Brongersma, E. (1986) Jongensliefde in de Arabische cultuur, OK Mag [Dutch] 3:19-22

[82] Murray, S. O. & Roscoe, W. (1997) Islamic Homosexualities. New York: New York University Press. Cf. Murray, S. O. (1995) Southwest Asian and North African terms for homosexual roles, Arch Sex Behav 24,6:623-9

[83] Danby, H. (1933) The Mishnah. London: Oxford University Press

[84] Duncan, J. & Derrett, M. (1974) The disposal of virgins, Man, New Series, 9,1:23-30

[85] Maimonides, M. ([1972]) Book of Women: Code of Maimonides Book IV. Transl. I. Klein. New Haven, London: Yale University Press

[86] Edwardes, A. (1967a) Erotica Judaica. New York: The Julian Press, Inc. See also page xiii

[87] Rush, F. (1980) The Best Kept Secret: Sexual Abuse of Children. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall

[88] Wegner, J. R. (1988) Chattel or Person? The Status of Women in the Mishnah. New York: Oxford University Press. Also a reference by Labovitz, G. (nd) Consent, Agency, and the Semantics of Sexuality in the Babylonian Talmud. Online paper, Feminist Sexual Ethics Web Project, Brandeis University [http://www.brandeis.edu/projects/fse/judaism/juda-articles/juda-art-consent.pdf]

[89] Jewish Sexual Ethics: Literature Reviews, Feminist Sexual Ethics Web Project, Brandeis University [http://www.brandeis.edu/projects/fse/judaism/juda-lit/juda-lit-wegner.html]

[90] Feminist Sexual Ethics Web Project, Brandeis University [http://www.brandeis.edu/projects/fse/muslim/mus-essays/mus-ess-marriage-consnt.html]

[91] Rahman, F. (1980) A Survey of Modernization of Muslim Family Law, Int J Middle East Stud 11,4:451-65

[92] Patai, R. ([1962]) Sitte und Sippe in Bibel und Orient. [German transl.] Frankfurt am Main: Ner-Tamid Verlag

[93] El Masry, Y. (1962) Le Drame Sexuel de la Femme dans l’Orient Arabe. Paris: Lafont

[94] Englisch, P. (1932) Sittengeschichte des Orients. Vienna [etc.]: Phaidon-Verlag

[95] Biale, D. (1997) Eros and the Jews: From Biblical Israel to Contemporary America. Berkeley & Los Angeles, California: University of California Press

[96] Motzki, H. (1987) Muslimische Kinderehen in Palästina während des 17. Jahrhunderts. Fatawa als Quellen zur Sozialgeschichte, Welt des Islams 27,1-3:82-90

[97] Yazbak, M. (2002) Minor Marriages and Khiyār Al-Bulūgh in Ottoman Palestine: A Note On Women's Strategies in a Patriarchal Society, Islamic Law & Society 9,3:386-409

[98] Lamdan, R. (2000) A Separate People: Jewish Women in Palestine, Syria and Egypt in the Sixteenth Century. Brill’s Series in Jewish Studies, vol. 26. Leiden: Brill

[99] Lamdan, R. (1996) Child marriage in Jewish society in the eastern Mediterranean during the sixteenth century, Mediterr Hist Rev 11,1:37-59

[100] Timm, K. & Aalami, S. (1976) Die Muslimische Frau Zwischen Tradition und Fortschritt.Berlin: Akademie-Verlag, p144/n25

[101] Atiya, N. (1982) Khul-Khaal: Five Egyptian Women Tell their Stories. Transl. from the Arab original. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, p5. Cf. Ayrout, H. H. (1938) Moeurs et Coutumes des Fellahs. Translated 1963/1968 as The Egyptian Peasant. Boston: Beacon Press, p118. Ayrout states that “both families concerned often connive to break it [the marriage law]”.

[102] Anderson, J. N. D. (1971) The Role of Personal Statutes in Social Development in Islamic Countries, Comparat Stud Soc & Hist 13,1:16-31

[103] Cf. Patai, R. (1973) The Arab Mind. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, p139: “[The Moroccan woman] has been taught to believe from childhood that the mere sight of a woman is sufficient toarouse a man sexually, and only external circumstances can prevent hom from having his will on her”.

[104] For the Arabs, see Granqvist, Marriage Conditions, Part. I, p38 [orig. footnote]

[105] Meeker, M. E. (1976) Meaning and Society in the near East: Examples from the Black Sea Turks and the Levantine Arabs (II), Int J Middle East Stud  7,3:383-422

[106] Thomas, B. (1932) Anthropological Observations in South Arabia, J Royal Anthropol Instit Great Britain & Ireland 62:83-103, at p90

[107] Khalaf, S. (1965) Prostitution in a Changing Society. Beirut: Khayats

[108] Wikan, U. (1982) Behind the Veil in Arabia. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press

[109] Dorsky, S. J. (1981) Women’s Lives in a Yemeni Highlands Town. Dissertation, Case Western Reserve University

[110] Durham, M. E. (1910) High Albania and its Customs in 1908, J Royal Anthropol Instit Great Britain & Ireland 40:453-72

[111] Stirling, P. (1965) Turkish Village. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, p180

[112] Yasa, I. (1957) Hasanoglan. Socio-economic Structure of a Turkish Village. Ankara

[113] http://www.ageofconsent.com/ageofconsent.htm, as accessed Nov. 2001

[114] ECPAT International, Online Database [http://www.ecpat.net/eng/Ecpat_inter/projects/monitoring/online_database/index.asp]

[115]http://www.interpol.int/Public/Children/SexualAbuse/NationalLaws/Default.asp (Legislation of Interpol member states on sexual offences against children)


[117] Graupner, H. (2000) Sexual consent: The criminal law in Europe and overseas, Arch Sex Behav 29,5:415-61

[118] “[…] all sexual relations, not restricted to sexual intercourse, outside of marriage are strictly prohibited according to the Islamic Penal Code. […] there does not appear to be specific provisions with regard to child sexual abuse. The Iranian Government sets the legal age for marriage at 18 years. The US State Department, however, writes that the minimum legal age for marriage is nine”.

[119] “Sexual relations outside of marriage are prohibited. The age of marriage is in general 18 years according to the Iraqi Family Law, but a girl older than 15 years may marry with court permission”.

[120] “The relevant age for sexual protection is 15 years in Jordan. Sexual intercourse and other sexual assaults against girls or boys under this age are prohibited even if the child consents and no force is used. With regard to girls this age limit is raised to 18 years if the assaulter is a close relative, legal guardian, a person entrusted with her care, or a minister of religion among others”.

[121] “There does not appear to be a specific age of consent to sexual activities in Kuwait but a rape statute criminalises any man that knowingly has sexual intercourse with a girl under 15 years of age regardless of whether force, threat or fraud is used”.

[122] “The Lebanese Penal Code includes provisions that protect children under 15 years of age against all kinds of sexual abuse. This age limit is raised to 18 years if the perpetrator is a parent, legal guardian or entrusted with supervision over the child”.

[123] The Penal Code “deals with sexual intercourse with persons under 15 years of age or with mentally or physically challenged persons. There is no requirement that force, threat or coercion be used. It is unclear if the article applies to boys and underage girls within marriage”.

[124] The age of consent for marriage provided by the Child Law no.12 is sixteen.

[125] Article 101 states: “Committing violent unlawful sexual intercourse with a girl aged between fourteen (14) and eighteen (18), having reached the age of puberty, is punished by an imprisonment term varying from five (5) to ten (10) years”

[126] There is also a child pornography law (article 228, Criminal Code), but no specific laws on child prostitution.

[127] Moghadam, V. M. (1995) Gender and Revolutionary Transformation: Iran 1979 and East Central Europe 1989, Gender & Society 9,3:328-58, at p342

[128] Under said law, every sane person committing the offence of Zina, whether with consent or without consent is liable for the offence. However, the punishment provided for both cases is different.

[129] Foster, Ch. (1994) On the trail of a taboo: female circumcision in the Islamic world, Contemp Rev 264,1540:244 et seq.

[130] Ajzenstadt, M. & Cavaglion, G. (2002) The sexual body of the young Jew as an arena of ideological struggle, 1821-1948, Symbolic Interaction 25,1:93-116. Cf. Cavaglion, G. (2000) [Childhood as a social construction: The case of sex education in the Jewish settlement of the early 20th century], Megamwt [Hebrew] 40,3:531-48

[131] Epstein, L. M. (1948) Sex Laws and Customs in Judaism. 1967 ed. New York: KTAV Publ. House

[132] Couchard, F. (1987) La parole des mères, parole structurante pour les filles dans la culture musulmane, Perspect Psychia 26,8, Pt 3:198-206

[133] Follmer, W. (1997) Das Leben der Frau in arabisch-islamischen Landern. Betrachtungen eines Frauenarztes, Curare 11:21-8

[134] Halstead, J. M. (1997) Muslims and sex education, J Moral Educ 26,3:317-30. See further Ashraf, S. A. (1996) Editorial: the Islamic concept of sex as the basis of sex education, Muslim Educ Quart 13:1-3; Sarwar, G. (1992) Sex Education: The Muslim Perspective. London: Muslim Educational Trust

[135] Van Gelder, P. (1993) Tussen Schaamte en Mannelijkheid. Amsterdam: Het Spinhuis [Dutch]

[136] Mukhtar, M. H. (?) Tarbiyat-e-Aulad aur Islam [The Upbringing of Children in Islam]. dar-ut-Tasneef, Jamiat ul-Uloom Il-Islamiyyah allama Banuri Town Karachi. English transl. by Rafiq Abdur Rahman. Transl. esp. Chapter 11: Responsibility for Sexual Education.

[137] Beck, D. F. (1957) The Changing Moslem Family of the Middle East, Marriage & Fam Living 19,4:340-7

[138] Rapoport, T. & Garb, Y. (1998) The experience of religious fortification: Coming-of-age of Religious-Zionist young women, Gender & Educ 10,1:5-21

[139] Hauptman, J. (1988) Rereading the Rabbis: Woman’s Voice. Boulder, CO: Westview Press

[140] Cit. supra,  [http://www.brandeis.edu/projects/fse/judaism/juda-lit/juda-lit-hauptman.html]

[141] Meinardus, O. (1968) The ethical issue of the hymenorophy: a study on Middle East sexual morality, Acta Ethnograph Budapest 17,3/4:369-73

[142] Mernissi, F. (1982) Virginity and patriarchy, Women’s Stud Int Forum 5,2:183-91

[143] Kandela, P. (1996) Egypt's trade in hymen repair, Lancet, Jun 8;347(9015):1615

[144] Jehl, D. (1999) The Fervor: Islam’s Teachings and Chastity, The New York Times on the Web, June 20; Goodwin (1994), cit. infra

[145] [Various authors] (1998) Should doctors reconstruct the vaginal introitus of adolescent girls to mimic the virginal state? BMJ, Feb 7;316(7129):[459-62]; Usta, I. (2000) Hymenorrhaphy: what happens behind the gynaecologist's closed door? J Med Ethics 26,3:217-8

[146] http://www.islamset.com/bioethics/vision/salami.html, May 2002

[147] El Saadawi, N. (1980) Tschador: Frauen im Islam. London. German Ed.